Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Colon Cancer Decline Makes Screening Less Important

An article in the New England Journal of Medicine notes that colon cancer is declining. This is good news, of course. There are three major lifestyle trends occurring at the same time that could plausibly account for the declining incidence of colon cancer: fewer people are using tobacco, people are eating less (and perhaps better) processed meats, and people are paying more attention to the need for proper hydration. Whatever the explanation, colon cancer among U.S. adults is occurring 40 percent less often than in the 1980s. The decline in the disease makes it less important for those with no symptoms or risk factors to be tested for it. Other research suggests that processed meat is the primary cause of most cases of colon cancer, so anyone who eats processed meat regularly should continue to make colon cancer screening a priority.